Tag: end-of-life

Conference Call: 10 Questions to Consider When Preparing for the Passing of a Loved One

Death represents a significant and vulnerable point in time for both the individual facing it and his or her loved ones. In the medical field, it is even associated with failure; only five out of 125 medical schools (4%) in the country offer a course on death and dying. This negative stigma means that what should be accepted as a natural part of life, often becomes an uncomfortable topic.

However, it is important to talk about death with loved ones. There are emotional benefits to reflecting on a life spent together, and expressing gratitude and admiration. It is also important to ask difficult questions so that this topic receives adequate attention and preparation. While everyone would prefer to focus on life, a significant amount of stress related to death can be reduced by proper planning.

Press play to hear McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus explain his 10 recommendations below for getting the best end-of-life care:

 

1. Know your options – What is the difference between hospice and palliative care?

2. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s – Are all the necessary legal documents in order?

3. Broach the subject – Have you had a discussion with your loved one to understand what his or her wishes are?

4. Nail down the timeline – When does your loved one want end-of-life care to begin?

5. Research reputation – Have you discovered all that you can about the potential care facilities that you are considering?

6. Find out who is behind the mask – How well do you know your loved one’s care providers?

7. Do your due diligence – Have you done your own research? Have you asked care providers to tell you what you can do to help? Have you explored all of the factors that could influence your decision?

8. Learn the ins and outs – Is in-patient or out-patient care best for your loved one and family?

9. Prepare Plan B – Do you have a backup plan?

10. Ask for help – Could your loved one and family benefit from counseling?

For guidance on ensuring that your estate plan reflects your wishes for life and death, contact McManus & Associates at 908-898-0100.

McManus Interviewed for Benefits Selling Magazine

An article, titled “The End,” that appeared in the April 2013 issue of Benefits Selling Magazine is worth digging into. Drawing from insight shared by experts like John O. McManus, McManus & Associates founding principal, reporter Paula Aven Gladych relays valuable intel related to end-of-life planning.

What’s one of the catch 22’s that Gladych unearths thanks to McManus? “Many people don’t realize that beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts trump whatever is written in a final will and testament.” From the piece:

Many parents place one of their children on their accounts as a joint account holder so they can help pay bills. What most people don’t realize is that when the parent passes away, no matter what is listed in the will, the person who is listed on the joint account will inherit that money. This can cause many problems among other beneficiaries who believe they are entitled to their share of that money, McManus said.

McManus also emphasizes a seemingly obvious but often overlooked step that needs to be taken – more than once:

Individuals need to make sure their documents are current. They need to review them every so often to make sure that what people think they will receive when they die is what they will actually receive, said John McManus, founding principal at McManus & Associates , an estates and trusts law firm in New York.

That means reviewing documents and walking through their provisions, deciding how they want to dispose of their assets and naming representatives who will make sure their assets are distributed as they intended.

But, as Gladych points out, things aren’t always so straightforward – especially when it comes to the tax system. In the piece, McManus has a word of advice, which he often shares with clients:

Each state has its own exemption when it comes to estate taxes. Some states, like New York, will allow individuals to pass down the first $1 million to heirs tax free. Anything above that $1 million will be taxed. McManus counsels his clients to gift that money while they are still alive to avoid hefty taxation later.

Gladych is right: planning for the future isn’t just about retirement accounts or what you want to do with all of your free time…people also need to plan for what comes after their retirement—end-of-life planning. To find more valuable tips, read the full story.